• Senegal surrounds its much smaller Anglophone neighbor, Gambia, as well as bordering its Francophone colleagues—Guinea, Mali, and Mauritania. Relatively dry, its shoreline runs along the Atlantic Ocean at the Sahel’s westernmost point. Up to half its population of 15.4 million (2016) is concentrated around Dakar and other urban areas.

    Political Context

    Senegal has been among Africa’s most stable countries, with only three major political transitions—each peaceful—since independence from France in 1960. The next presidential election is due in February 2019, but incumbent Macky Sal may be the last president to serve for seven years as a constitutional referendum in 2016 cut mandates to five.

    In 2017, the ruling coalition Benno Bokk Yakaar party (“United in Hope" in the widely-spoken Wolof language) won 125 of 165 seats but fell short of the popular vote. A dozen other parties hold seats in the national assembly, including the Coalition gagnante Wattu Senegal, Manko Taxawu Sénégal, and Parti de l’unité et du rassemblement.

    Senegal has so far been spared regional security shocks, but activism by terrorist groups in neighboring countries and the higher number of radicals entering the country are factors that risk fueling instability.

    Economic Overview

    Since changing the year—to 2014 from 1999—used as a base for calculating the size of the national economy, the economy has grown by 30%. As a result, Senegal’s 2016 GDP increased from $15.3 billion to $19.6 billion; per capita GNI increased from $953 to around $1,230; and public debt to GDP fell from 60.4% to 46.8%.

    Annual economic growth has held at over 6% since 2015, accelerating from 6.2% in 2016 to 7.2% in 2017, and expectations for 2018 are optimistic—though high oil prices and other fiscal constraints may have a moderating affect.

    The primary sector has been the fastest growing, particularly agriculture, due to support programs and robust external demand. This is followed by the tertiary sector, thanks to financial and intermediation services, the hotel sector, and transport. The secondary sector has slowed despite good performances in food industries, chemicals, and energy.

    There are concerns over the country’s macro-fiscal framework: although the fiscal deficit fell from 3.3% of GDP in 2016 to 3% in 2017, the fiscal stance deteriorated due to arrears in government payments to private and public suppliers that could have pushed the 2017 deficit up to around 5% of GDP. Rising international oil prices, coupled with unchanged domestic energy pricing, explain much of the imbalance.

    Public debt continued to increase, but remains at low risk of distress, partly due to the GDP rebasing. Debt increased from 47.8% of the rebased GDP in 2016 to 48.3% in 2017, while debt service remains high at 32.6% of fiscal revenues. Senegal’s debt may reach 49.4% of GDP in 2018, partly due to the issuance of a Eurobond (worth $2.2 billion in March 2018).

    The external Current Account Deficit (CAD) also deteriorated, due to higher oil prices and stronger imports of capital goods. The CAD widened from 4.2% of GDP in 2016 to 7.3% in 2017, despite the good performance of exports, which increased 11% in volume, driven by agriculture, food-products, and extractives. Imports grew even faster, driven by oil-related products (+34%) and capital goods (+20%), due to higher oil prices and stronger domestic demand for goods.

    The CAD is expected to worsen again in 2018 to 8% of GDP, mostly due to high oil prices, but would improve afterwards from stronger exports.

    Medium-Term Outlook

    Senegal's medium-term economic prospects will remain positive for as long as its new structural reforms are sustained and deepened, and the external environment remains benign. Economic growth is projected to hold at over 6% for 2018. Its blueprint for becoming a middle-income country sets targets of over 7% growth in following years, though rising energy prices and other fiscal and external pressures may prevent this.

    To accelerate economic growth, Senegal will need all its economic drivers pointing in the same direction at the same time. This means more reforms to resolve bottlenecks in productivity and competitiveness; sustaining a credible fiscal policy and avoiding currency overvaluation; and putting the country in a position to reap the benefits of a positive international environment.

    Social Context

    National poverty was last measured in 2011 at 46.7% (national poverty line) and 38% using the international poverty line (US$1.9 PPP). No new household consumption data have been collected since, but strong growth suggests a decrease in monetary poverty, driven by the primary sector in rural areas, and construction and services in urban areas.

    Non-monetary indicators also improved (access to services and assets ownership) but they suggest a stagnation of inequality. Questions on inclusiveness remain pertinent as job creation is insufficient to absorb internal migration and a growing labor force. Furthermore, most labor is informal, entailing low remuneration, underemployment, and limited social protection.

    Poverty should begin to fall faster—from 34% in 2017 to 31.2% in 2020 (IPL)—and by 2020, the decline in the number of poor that started in 2016 should accelerate due to agricultural growth. Under this scenario, poverty reduction in urban areas would be driven by services, remittances, and public construction.

    If PSE reforms continue, the poor would progressively be able to access high growth or value-added sectors, such as horticulture or agricultural processing, while the enhanced pro-poor programs that have been unfolding since 2014–15 (including the adaptive social protection may reduce vulnerability and build up the asset base of the poor.

    Last Updated: Nov 16, 2018

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Senegal

    The World Bank’s active portfolio comprises 20 national IDA investment operations totaling $1.64 billion, and nine regional IDA operations worth $411.50 million in commitments. The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) committed portfolio is worth $138.3 million, while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency’s (MIGA) gross exposure in Senegal was $106.52 million. 

    Last Updated: Nov 16, 2018

  • The World Bank Group has contributed to Senegal’s development performance in various sectors, including:

    Stormwater Management

    The Stormwater Management and Climate Change Adaptation project has allowed Senegal to protect populated, flood-prone areas. Some 137,500 direct beneficiaries (against 90,000 targeted initially) and 571 hectares (against 343 initially targeted) have been protected.

    With the groundwater level (the source of flooding in many areas) lowered from 1 to 2 meters below ground, sanitation has also improved (as the water table drops in septic tanks in poor settlements).

    Water and Sanitation

    The World Bank has supported Senegal for nearly two decades in the water and sanitation sector through successive projects: the Water Sector Project; the Long Term Water Sector Project (PELT); the Water and Sanitation Millennium Project (PEPAM); and the ongoing Senegal Urban Water and Sanitation Project.

    Interventions have yielded the following results: in urban areas, some 206,160 persons gained access to piped water and 82,260 to improved sanitation and, as of April 2017, about 95,000 more gained access to improved water services. In rural areas, some 172,370 people have gained access to safe drinking water, while 193,730 additional people have gained access to improved sanitation.


    The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), a regional project involving 13 countries, has yielded the following results in Senegal: as many as 423,000 agricultural producers and processors have benefited from the development, dissemination, and adoption of improved agricultural technologies from 2012 to 2015, of which 38% were women.

    WAAPP enabled the agricultural research needed for climate-smart agriculture, generating 14 new, high-yielding, early maturing, drought-resistant varieties of millet, sorghum, and cowpeas. It upgraded core facilities, equipment, and the human capacity of the National Center of Specialization and introduced an important fellowship program for young agricultural researchers, resulting in 170 fellowships—99 for PhDs and 71 for Masters. The program seeks to develop scientific careers, fill gaps in some research field areas, and replace researchers who are retiring.

    An E-subsidy platform was developed to improve the distribution of subsidized inputs; about 800,000 farmers have registered with it so far, out of a goal of one million.

    Social Protection

    The Senegal Safety Net project has registered 442,019 households in the Unique National Registry (about 30% of the population), and the National Cash Transfer Program (Programme National de Bourses de Sécurité Familiale) has reached its final target of about 300,000 beneficiary households (about 20% of the population). 

    Last Updated: Nov 16, 2018

  • Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal. Progress has been made to streamline development assistance in keeping with the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda.

    Last Updated: Nov 16, 2018



Senegal: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Corniche Ouest X
Rue Léon Gontran Damas
Dakar, Senegal
For general information and inquiries
Mademba Ndiaye
Sr. Communications Officer
For project-related issues and complaints